The Beautiful by Reneee Ahdieh
Updated: Feb 8
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamoured with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger.
She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
I avoided writing this review for so long that I don´t even remember why I wanted to write it.
This .book . is a. lie. and I have to idea how to explain this without hurting some feelings around.
So, for those that actually really like this book and can´t handle bad reviews of it...You better go because this is going to get ugly. Sorry.
SPOILERS ahead, be warned that this is a spoilery review.
I am going to start this review by stating the obvious, I gave this book a very low rating and not for lack of trying to find good points to the story. It is just a disaster and to be truthful with you, it was distressing and infuriating to a certain degree.
I had never read a book by this author which is both a good thing and a bad thing. And this is due to the mistake of judging her writing by this one book and never picking up another novel by the same author or understanding that this author style and work is just not for me and I have to move on to others.
Either way I am 80% sure that I will mostly never read another novel by Renée Ahdieh. Again, sorry.
To pause all the negativity for a bit let´s concentrate on the, almost invisible, good points shall we?
The writing is not that bad, it is flowery and poetic which I can appreciate but for people ,like myself, that read books like "Strange the dreamer" I was a bit disappointed. Mostly because a huge part of her fandom told me that her writing was VERY poetic.
Was it really tho?
Don´t get me wrong it was good writing. Good description that made sense, minus a few instances when it got a bit boring, but overall good. The thing is I was expecting so much more. I really should stop getting hyped for books before I read them but I mean that IS the Booktube curse.
For me one of the highlights were the clothing description and I am well aware that some completely disagree but I though it made sense with our main character interests, so sue me but I dig it.
Another good thing is how the author carries you into her world, which by the way is amazing. I love the setting and it was one of the things that made me buy this book in the first place, and I can say that indeed the atmospheric romancy vibes were achieved here.
And as a surprise I liked the romance. I think there was chemistry and I do believe that the dialogue is the best thing on the page. It is witty and funny. Just good fun.
Now. I will be ranting from now one. Obviously I will still analyse and explain my lack of joy in this novel.
The characters are the blandest people that I ever read about (except maybe the main character from After. GOD why did I read that book?). and the main character is the personification of WHAT EVERY novel has these days: murder complex, sassy but actually is just dumb, "super smart" but actually is just a teenager mindset.
Can we please stop glorifying murder? I am so done with this trope. And some people called her victim? and then her whole thing is that she ain´t one...I..why?
Look I deeply understand the problems with rape and assault and there is no way to make it better BUT since when is murder better than rape? Or somewhat justified because it was a "mistake" or "self-defence" ? Are you telling me that there wasn´t any other way for mister Celine to save herself than to kill a man? and then BASH on all of men just cause....
Oh god I am getting so furious about this.
But really this "feminist" books....You have the realisation that YES he was in the wrong and deserved punishing BUT she didn't had any right to kill him and get away with it.
I mean for me it is scary that people actually support this MC even with her crime literally referred five times per page and with all her power thirst and her being literally so annoying and a bad friend and just plain dumb.
Stop. Please stop rooting for someone like this.
And men do not exist only to:
2.Try to rape you
3.Be sexy for your and get your attention.
In this book this is the image of men. Like what? This is not cute.
When I was going through the internet in search for other people opinions on this story I saw this girl (not gonna put her name or anything here) say this:
"Don´t get upset that brown woman are getting their version of things"
And I just got more annoyed by this whole novel. YES IT IS AMAZING TO HAVE DIVERSE CHARACTERS.
but are you freaking saying that THEY CAN´T HAVE ORIGINAL SHIT?
Excuse me, are you saying that it is fine to have a twilight re-do but with a brown girl? First this is nothing like Twilight which is actually about vampires. Second what?
The sense that diversity is so over the top that just mentioning it in a book is like an award-type action. Listen in this novel Celine being diverse is only a "we need to make someone brown or black or asian or gay just so that we can sell more copies" just as Odette being queer is too.
Are you blind? Odette is queer and this fact is not even acknowledge by the characters in the . story. It is just a big piece of "we are woke" and never even explored like it should´ve been.
How is this a good thing?
And about him being "cool and wild":
I am cool with making a character amazingly pretty and sexy when the character is a fantasy creature a.k.a a vampire. BUT when he is a human?
Guys have pimples and hair and normal human flaws and back then I am pretty sure they didn't had dermatologists or "make-overs". BUT most importantly NO ONE is perfect. So he being a perfection of a porcelain doll just does not vibe with me.
Oh yeah and remember when this book was marketed as a vampire romance? As "The book that would bring vampires back"?
IT IS ALL BULLSHIT.
No vampires where found. No vampire romance. Just two hormonal teenagers living in a murder mystery. OH you read that right!! MURDER MYSTERY. that is the genre of this book. Not romance. or paranormal.
NO NO. Crime and mystery.
Not to even touch on how confusing the book is with different POV´s and the mythology which is just not explained, not through word or actions. It is just a big question mark.
In overall this book is just a plain lie. It was supposed to be entertaining but is just boring. It was supposed to be romance but it is crime. It was supposed to be about vampires but it is just NOT.
I am just so disappointed that this book is hyped over some others that are masterpieces like Gods of Jade and Shadow (Review here).
Oh and that ending just left me laughing about how I still had hopes for this novel...
But as always I welcome some to disagree which I am sure a lot do.
COMMENT DOWN BELLOW!